Naturalization Records

A new and updated resource is available to aid genealogists researching individuals who applied for and received status as naturalized Canadians from 1915 to 1951. The Canadian Naturalization 1915-1951 database () is located on the Library and Archives Canada website.

The Naturalization Act of 1914 saw the creation of lists detailing those who were naturalized. These lists were published annually in two locations: the Secretary of State’s annual report and the Canada Gazette. Information published on individuals included the person’s name, country of origin, place of residence in Canada and occupation. Names of spouses and children were noted if they, too, were naturalized.

To get some perspective of the number of individuals contained in this database, between 1915 and 1932, more than 200,000 immigrants from over 80 countries (including the USA) were documented.

Thankfully, the database is searchable by name and by date. However, there’s a catch. The first batch of records, compiled between 1915 and 1932, can be searched using name, given name and country. There are 206,731 references in this group.

The second batch of records, compiled between 1932 and 1951, are searchable by month and year of publication in the Canada Gazette. You cannot search using name, given name or country. However, the lists are in alphabetical order by surname, making the search easier.

The first group of records are compiled in a data table, but the second group consists of digital images. Navigating through the images is very easy, and the site offers lots of options, including the ability to zoom in for hard to read text. Clicking the camera icon on the top of the page enables the copying of the image to a word processing file. You can choose the entire image or a specific section by using the Select button, clicking the camera icon and highlighting the desired area.

If you can’t find who you’re looking for but you’re sure they should be there, check the end of lists. Special cases/additions were made there and may not be found in a routine search.

As with any computer search, spelling can make all the difference. Different spellings for names can be used or the wildcard character * can be put to work. For example, instead of searching for Munroe and Munro, try Munr*. You can use that wildcard anywhere in the name, including the beginning: *loth for Euloth and Uloth. Last names with spaces should be searched without the spaces: Vontassle instead of Von Tassle.

Still having problems finding someone? Keep in mind that individuals had to live in Canada for five years before they could be naturalized. Even after that period they may not have applied. It wasn’t mandatory. Also, if the person was a British subject by birth – in other words, born in Britain or one of their colonies – there was no need to be naturalized.

If you wish a copy of a specific record, you can write to Citizenship and Immigration Canada using with the Access to Information Request Form found on the website in the Naturalization Records Held by Citizenship and Immigration Canada section. It cost $5.00.

TIP: You can search past issues of Canada Gazette on Google News Archives.

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